The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the InfraGard National Members Alliance are working to expand private sector participation as part of a full-spectrum partnership to protect the Nations critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR).
This first-person report by a homeland-security professional compares the U.S. civil-aviation security system with its Israeli counterpart and declares Israel a clear winner - for two reasons: (1) The virtually unanimous Israeli mindset is focused primarily on national survival; and (2) Israeli security sidesteps politics by profiling all passengers through a combination of advanced technology and consideration of the "human factors" that are frequently more important.
by Peter Kant, Vice President, Rapiscan Systems Government Affairs -
The sometimes intrusive high-tech systems used by most airlines to screen passengers, and their baggage, are extremely sophisticated - but terrorist organizations also are moving forward by devising new types of explosive devices, and new methods of concealment. The end result, in the not-too-distant future, is likely to be a "fully automated checkpoint" that not only will provide much greater security but also speed up the check-in process and relieve passenger frustration at the same time.
Tony Otten, CEO of Versar, said, "The acquisition of Advent Environmental is a great strategic fit for Versar. We are extremely excited about the opportunities this combination offers. Our cultures are similar and Advent's technical capabilities compliment our own. MMRP and UXO clean-up are a major new Versar initiative which will move ahead faster and become stronger with the joint Advent-Versar resources."
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano highlighted the United States' significant progress in securing the U.S.-Mexico border one year after the Obama administration announced the Southwest Border Initiative - a series of unprecedented steps to crack down on Mexican drug cartels by deploying additional personnel & technology, increasing information sharing, working closely with the Mexican government, and improving federal coordination with state, local and tribal law enforcement authorities.
by Major General Stephen V. Reeves, USA (Ret.); Summarized by John F. Morton -
The DP40 and DomPrep readers where asked to voice their opinions on how prepared the United States is for a chemical attack and what it might mean for local emergency managers if a chemical warfare agent or TIC/TIM (toxic industrial chemical/toxic industrial material) event occurred.
Thales Communications, Inc. has appointed Michael Sheehan as the company's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President. Mr. Sheehan brings proven tactical communications experience to Thales, having supported and managed elements of programs including JTRS, Future Combat Systems (FCS), Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) and Link 16.
FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Individual & Community Preparedness Division is excited to announce the sixth webinar in the Community Preparedness Webinar Series: National Financial Literacy Month: Operation HOPE & Emergency Financial Preparedness. This webinar will highlight ways to work with Operation HOPE and resources available to engage community members in steps they should take to be financially prepared in the face of disaster.
Penn State is offering five specializations within the online Intercollege Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security program that will enable professionals working in government, military, and civilian sectors to tailor the program to their career goals. Applications are now being accepted.
by Thomas Payne, Director, ITT Information Integration Systems -
The same revolution in information technology that has given the U.S. armed services communications, cybersecurity, research, and other advanced capabilities previously deemed impossible can be used by other government agencies, and by the civilian sector, to improve and perfect their own products and services on a continuing basis.
The handling of mass-casualty incidents involving chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and/or explosive materials requires special training and purpose-built systems and equipment, but the greatest need on-site is continuing awareness by emergency responders of the horrendous threat they, and the innocent victims they are helping, are facing.
From shoe bombs to underwear bombs, the weapons of death used by modern terrorists have become not only more lethal and more complex but also more difficult to detect. Next on the long list of recent "improvements" might well be surgically implanted explosives, carried deep in human body cavities where, the terrorists hope, they would be almost impossible to detect.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutullab was walking, almost literally, in the footsteps of Richard Reid when he tried to detonate an "underwear" bomb aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009. Additional jihadist attacks are inevitable - unless and until the United States changes its supposedly egalitarian screening process in favor of a more common-sense approach.
The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) has announced that it is launching bachelor's & master's degree programs in cybersecurity. These programs were created in response to calls from Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to establish Maryland as a cybersecurity hub, and from President Barack Obama to increase the cybersecurity expertise of employees in the federal workforce. The new degree programs will launch this fall.
The project will provide the county with a new Harris P25IP (Project 25 to the power of Internet Protocol) 800 MHz radio communications system, and includes radio terminals for the county to comply with the FCC's (Federal Communications Commission) rebanding mandate (FCC 04-168). The new standards-based system will bring the county greater functionality on a flexible system platform.
Contrary to Secretary Napolitano's rather politicized assertion that "the [U.S. aviation security] system worked," it definitely did NOT work. But it could be made immensely more effective - less costly as well - if certain common-sense, albeit politically difficult, changes were made. Beginning immediately, and starting at the top.
"This latest testing is another example of P25 manufacturers continuing to work together to advance interoperability for public safety, enabling first responders to communicate in emergency situations," said Bob Schassler, senior vice president, Motorola Worldwide Radio Solutions. "Motorola supports the Project 25 standard and we are dedicated to enhancing interoperability through the ISSI - interface in the public safety environment."
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute joined Finnish Interior Minister Anne Holmlund to sign a Preventing & Combating Crime (PCC) Agreement - allowing for the enhanced exchange of biometric and biographic data to bolster counterterrorism and law-enforcement efforts in both the United States and Finland while protecting individual privacy.
The offering provides customers with options to use their contactless credentials for more than just access control, Access Smart's products enable customers to have an easily deployed solution for secure network authentication with a low cost of ownership. The flexibility of Access Smart's solution, combined with Schlage's multi-technology readers which read both proximity and smart cards - provides customers a truly powerful solution.
"The tech sector is one of the most important members of the nation's emergency management team," said Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate. "Just as technology is constantly changing our daily lives, it's changing the way we manage disasters."
"E-Verify is a smart, simple, and effective tool that helps employers across the country maintain a legal workforce," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. "The initiatives announced will provide essential information to workers about their rights and ensure that E-Verify is used fairly while bolstering the Department's efforts to protect critical employment opportunities."
Those who were fortunate and farsighted enough to attend last month's Public Health Preparedness Summit in Atlanta not only heard many of the nation's senior healthcare officials report on recent innovations and achievements but also, of greater importance, were able to network with their peers and colleagues from every state in the union to discuss the even more daunting challenges likely to be faced in the very near future.
The dangers posed by IEDs, chemical and biological weapons & devices, and other WMDs has grown exponentially in recent years - to the point that many analysts now use the term "when, not if" in answering questions about the possibility of additional terrorist attacks against the United States. The time to prepare is now, and the best way to prepare is by using the lessons learned from previous mistakes, miscalculations, and misunderstandings.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) considers Haiti to be affected by economically dangerous foreign animal diseases (FADs). Returning emergency responders can help prevent the entry of FADs from Haiti by strictly adhering to the USDA guidelines when determining whether an animal product and/or equipment should be allowed to enter the United States.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deputy Administrators Rich Serino and Tim Manning addressed the recent Big City Emergency Managers conference in Washington - discussing, among other topics, the importance of region-wide coordination in preparedness and emergency responses.
"This award of the IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity) contract allows DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to be proactive in their procurement strategy of effective respirators for pandemic influenza preparedness. First Line Technology is pleased to be chosen as one of ten contract suppliers under this IDIQ," said First Line Technology President Amit Kapoor.
RAE Systems' wireless-enabled AreaRAE, multi-gas and radiation, detection systems that provide real-time remote monitoring and a photo-ionization detector (PID) for parts-per-million measurements, helped keep thousands of attendees safe and secure at recent major sporting events, including the Super Bowl XLIV championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game, and the XXI Olympic Winter Games.
The AFG workshop schedule is now available. The current list is not yet complete, because more times and dates may be added in the future. These free workshops will be scheduled around the country to provide information about the submission of competitive applications under the 2010 Assistance to Firefighters Grants program. The workshop lasts about two hours.
CSafe, provider of active container solutions for the temperature-sensitive airfreight market, announces the approval of its manufacturing facility in Dayton, Ohio, by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the production of the company's AcuTemp RKN electrical heating and cooling air cargo container.
Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel & members of FEMA-trained Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams from California, Florida, New York, and Virginia joined other personnel and teams involved in the U.S. response to Haiti at a Rose Garden ceremony with President Obama. The President thanked all who participated in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-led effort.
The technically advanced FM53 is the first mask with twin 40mm filter ports to be awarded CE approval. These ports allow the user to easily select a right- or left-mounted filter. The FM53 is the only mask of its kind that has been specifically designed both to protect users against the multiple threats and to meet the asymmetric warfare challenge of today.
The Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) & the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted training designed to better prepare Wisconsin's many state agencies to effectively manage a major disaster. During a four-day training exercise, more than 75 local, state, volunteer, and federal emergency responders tested emergency response and recovery plans to respond to a multiple-event "emergency."
The numerous presidential directives and policy documents issued since the 9/11 terrorist attacks have focused on various specialized areas of homeland-security and counterterrorism operations and activities. Many of those "specialized areas" are closely interrelated in their separate but complementary goals and objectives, though, and when used in combination can achieve some synergistically beneficial results.
Question: How does an all-electric racing car work? Answer: By pushing the "start" button. One of the biggest problems in the field of domestic preparedness, it says here, is the misguided instructional emphasis on theory and complex technology rather than maintaining a laser-beamed focus on practical training, the explanation of fundamentals, and drills, exercises, and more training. Then practice, practice, and more practice.
An alarming report issued by the WMD Commission - combined with the growing need to "protect the protectors" and an increase in other responsibilities - suggests that law-enforcement agencies, specifically including SWAT teams, may soon have to become hazmat experts as well.
by Prepared by Major General Stephen V. Reeves, USA (Ret.), Summarized by John F. Morton -
How serious is the chemical threat now facing the United States and its allies throughout the world? Also, are U.S. responder agencies properly prepared to cope with that threat? If not, why not? What additional policies and actions are needed? Those are just a few of numerous questions posed in this DomPrep40 survey. Readers are hereby requested, and challenged, to compare their opinions with those of the DP40 panel of experts.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to determine: (1) What actions have been taken to develop the interagency mechanisms needed to plan and coordinate CNCI (Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative) activities; and (2) What challenges CNCI faces in achieving its objectives related to securing federal information systems.
"This is the first time that Japanese emergency managers at government agencies, hospitals, power facilities, manufacturing plants, and universities will have access to the most advanced crisis-management software available today for creating a common operating picture and achieving situational awareness in their native language," said Paul Butler, ESi CFO & Executive VP, International Business.
The ICx Stride systems provide complete "out-of-the-box" radiation detection, identification, and localization functionality and can be easily tailored to diverse, unique security requirements. The systems have been designed to be deployed either openly or covertly, depending upon the screening scenario.
Two Missouri Air National Guard C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, with 47 crew members, were diverted to Chile to aid that earthquake-ravaged nation. The C-130 aircraft can fly passengers, and airlift cargo, long distances - in all weather conditions, both day and night, from low to high altitudes - and land in many areas inaccessible to other aircraft.
This Pandemic Influenza Pediatric Office Plan Template is a planning tool, developed by pediatric stakeholders, that is intended to assist pediatric medical offices that, although they have no pandemic influenza plan in place, may nonetheless experience an increase, caused by pandemic influenza, in their patient calls/visits and/or overall workload.
The California Earthquake Preparedness Survey (CEPS) was conducted for the State of California by the UCLA School of Public Health and Survey Research Center. The surveys objective was to provide baseline data describing: (a) how prepared, or unprepared, California households are to deal with earthquakes; and (b) where they obtain the information they need about preparedness and mitigation.
The Government Accountability Office has issued a report that highlights the critical importance of having effective communications systems available for law-enforcement, public-safety, and emergency-response agencies, including federal agencies that are assigned responsibilities in those areas.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the first 11 airports to receive advanced imaging technology (AIT) units purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds - strengthening security at airports throughout the country while boosting local economies.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Israeli Transport & Road Safety Minister Israel Katz announced a new agreement to enhance information sharing related to civil aviation security incidents and to ensure efficient and effective coordination in response to potential acts of terrorism and other aviation-related public safety emergencies.
BIO-ACT (Biological Advanced Confirmatory Technologies) is a complete emergency response assessment solution for rapidly identifying Biological Warfare Agents (BWAs) in the field. BIO-ACT comprises four complementary technologies, giving emergency responders a complete toolkit to obtain the highest level of accuracy when assessing unknown powder scares potentially involving Anthrax, Ricin, Plague, Pan Orthopox, and/or other BWAs.
ICx was awarded a $9 million contract by the Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) of Abu Dhabi, UAE, for mobile integrated surveillance systems. ICx will provide the company's integrated millimeter-wave ground-based radar and thermal/CCTV imaging systems on mobile tactical platforms for deployment around critical infrastructure sites to provide comprehensive wide-area surveillance.
Within minutes after news of the 12 January earthquake that devastated Haiti was reported to the outside world, U.S. government agencies, and numerous NGOs, swung into action. Here is a lessons-learned report on how New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital accelerated its pre-planning process, the preparation of healthcare volunteers, the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, and the dispatch to Port au Prince of an all-volunteer medical relief team.
Chemicals are a part of the everyday American's diet. They are used - in carefully measured doses, it is hoped - in manufacturing; in the processing of food, beverages, medicines, and numerous other consumables; and in many other ways in almost every country in the world. Because of their relatively low cost and easy availability, moreover, they are particularly well suited for use by terrorists as homemade bombs and roadside ICDs.
Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency met with representatives from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service, Swedish emergency management agencies, and the European Commission to discuss not only preparedness but also ways to ensure effective communications in the event of a widespread catastrophic disaster.
In a recent statement, the Pennsylvania Office of Administration pointed out that PA-STARNet (powered by Harris's OpenSky technology) enabled seamless interoperability so that emergency personnel on different radio systems could quickly communicate with one another. This essential interoperability among users allows for more efficient responses to emergencies.
The Secure 1000 Single Pose uses advanced backscatter technology and proprietary image processing software to rapidly detect potential threats on passengers at aviation checkpoints and is designed to help screeners detect potential threat objects concealed on the passengers themselves. The Secure 1000 Single Pose has been approved by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and is currently being deployed at a number of airports in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The GAO (Government Accountability Office) was asked to review: (a) federal efforts to promote community preparedness; (b) the challenges, if any, that FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) faces in measuring the performance of CCP (Citizen Corps Programs); and (c) the actions, if any, being taken to develop a strategy to encompass how these programs are to operate within the National Preparedness System.
L-3 is currently testing software upgrades and continues to enhance L-3's checkpoint screening technology to facilitate detection of an even broader range of potential aviation threats. L-3's ProVision offers multiple levels of privacy protection that can be customized to support customer-specific operational procedures.
A terrorist's use of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) or improvised nuclear device (IND) to release radioactive materials into the environment could have devastating consequences. The GAO (Government Accountability Office) was asked to examine: (a) the federal government's responsibilities and/or plans to assist cities & states with the cleanup process of contaminated areas; (b) what is known about the effectiveness of the cleanup process; and (c) suggestions for improving federal preparedness to help cities & states recover from such incidents.